Turkey's Erdogan threatens new push against Syrian Kurds

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

"We are aware of Turkish statements about a planned offensive into northeast Syria and have been in touch with Turkey and the SDF to de-escalate the situation", he added, while saying that the USA military was "working closely with the SDF who are in the midst of offensive operations against ISIS in the Middle Euphrates River Valley", calling the United States allies "a committed partner against ISIS". Other Kurdish groups in Iraq and Syria have proven themselves to be invaluable allies in the fight against the Islamic State.

Turkish and USA troops are due to start conducting joint patrols in the Syrian city of Manbij later on Tuesday or Wednesday, Turkey's Defense Minister Hulusi Akar was quoted byAnadolu news agency as saying on Tuesday.

"The shelling proves how serious and determined we are", a Turkish intelligence source told Middle East Eye on condition of anonymity.

Turkish forces recently struck several targets belonging to the YPG near the town of Kobani in northern Syria.

The YPG militia posted a video on Twitter of what appeared to be a Turkish military vehicle being destroyed by a guided missile. "We will soon crush the terrorist organization with more comprehensive and effective operations", he said.

Turkey has been infuriated by USA support for the YPG, which it considers a terrorist organization and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) which has fought an insurgency in southeast Turkey for more than three decades.

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The funerals followed three on Tuesday for other victims and ahead of the remaining five set for later in the week. I like to tell people their history as coal and iron police from way back. "In the last row, everyone got killed".

Turkey considers the YPG a grave threat to its national security since it is a part of the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by the US, the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Akar said that after Manbij, "clearance of east of Euphrates will be discussed".

Russian state-affiliated news agency Sputnik quoted Pentagon spokesperson Sean Robertson as saying that the U.S. was "in touch" with both Turkey and the SDF to "de-escalate the situation" on Tuesday.

Palladino also noted that the SDF was "in the midst of offensive operations" against IS-although late on Wednesday the SDF announced a pause in that offensive in response to the Turkish attacks. The counterattack killed at least 72 SDF fighters and forced the Arab-Kurdish force to withdrawal from Hajin and halt operations as reinforcements were sent in. Kurdish units liberated Manbij from Daesh* in 2016. Turkey's defense minister, Hulusi Akar, said in comments carried by Anadolu that the patrols would begin as soon as training is completed.

In June, Turkish and USA officials reached an agreement to conduct joint patrols in Manbij, which included joint training between US and Turkish forces around the Syrian town.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey will bring down all terror nests on eastern Euphrates.

. Turkish officials have repeatedly threatened a third operation against the city of Manbij.

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